By Tony Attwood
I liked Laurent Koscielny as an Arsenal player and whatever it is that has happened in the last few weeks that has ended with his move back to France, I still like him and will always remember him positively.
And indeed I have sympathy for him, for he missed out on a world cup winners’ medal because he was injured. What does that do to you mentally when you have put your whole life into football, and you know your time is coming to and end… and you miss out on being in the side that wins the ultimate trophy? I can’t imagine.
I suppose I have a particular affinity with players whom I have watched from start to finish at Arsenal – and that is not as many as one might expect because the occasional time spent overseas, the family committments and other ups and down in modern life all combine to mean that despite my season ticket, for very many players I have seen the start, or the end, or the middle of their Arsenal careers, but not the whole thing.
But in the end all this moving around begins to slow down and yes I’ve had my season ticket right the way through from 2010 to 2019, and not been too interrupted by events, so I’ve watched his performances, with much pleasure.
And not least because it was Laurent who caused me to reveal on Untold in 2014, the trivial fact that I am an accordion player. a revelation not taken lightly but caused by the fact that Koscielny had reportedly acted to save an accordion making factory in his home town.
Also I have never stopped reminding my mate Ian who, when we sat together in the north bank during Koscielny’s first season at Arsenal, said words to the effect that “we have to admit it that Koscielny is simply not good enough.” I disagreed, and for once I think I was right.
Well, whether he was good enough or not, he became good enough, at least by my reckoning. And I guess the managers’ too because he played over 350 games for Arsenal. I rate him not just as a player but also as an organiser and as a captain, a man who gave his all for the club, and a man who always was part of the club.
Which is what makes the dispute that marred the end of his career rather unexpected. I suspect, but it is not more than that, that the club had said that he could go if a good offer came in for him; that good offer came in and he felt he should be in England to deal with the matter with his agent. But the club thought at as captain he should be with the squad in America, even if he was not going to play much. A battle of wills, an unseemly standoff, but Laurent got what he wanted.
And why not after that many games for Arsenal where he really did give his all?
Maybe, now he has gone, he will be written out of Arsenal’s history as a passing figure, but in truth he was far, far more than that. And far more than the trophies he won, although they are enough to make any member of the Tottenham squad turn green with envy: three FA Cups, two community shields, league cup runners’ up twice, Europa League runners’ up. Not a bad haul for a guy from Lorient who cost us around £8.5m.
And even if what happened at the end seemed a little, well, unseemly, I don’t think that was Laurent Koscielny, the real guy. Let’s not remember the end, but instead remember the start when he said…
“I don’t believe any French player would have refused to come and play for Arsenal. It took me four years to go from the bench of Ligue 2 to Arsenal so it is a great achievement. I have been on the crest of a wave for the last few years. But it is just the beginning; I haven’t proved anything yet. Arsenal is a reference for football.”
Yes, let’s remember that, not any of the stuff, whatever it was, that happened at the end.
Laurent, of course you don’t know who I am, but let me say to you, via the distance between us, it has been an honour to watch your career come to full maturity, and a great pleasure to see you represent Arsenal.
Thank you Laurent Koscielny.
Here’s the record…
|Season||League games||League Goals||Cup games||Cup Goals||European games||Euro Goals||Total games||Total Goals|
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!